From Cozy To Cuffing Season: An Official Guide To Unofficial Seasons

seasons, terms, orange on white

‘Tis the season for… seasons! We all know that the year is divided into four seasons: spring, summer, autumn/fall, and winter. However, we also have a number of unofficial seasons to go along with these main four. For example, we have cozy season, spooky season, and everybody’s favorite, pumpkin spice season. Each of these “seasons” is anticipated or observed in different ways. 

These “seasons” have become common enough that the shortened szn is often used on social media to refer to them or any other personal season someone wants to celebrate. But just how many of these unofficial seasons are there? We rounded up the most common “seasons” that people look forward to every year, so consider this your official guide to these unofficial commemorations.

🍂 Autumn

Hoodie season

Our first season is also the most straightforward of them all. Hoodie season is, as the name suggests, the time of year when people put the shorts and the summer clothes away and switch over to hooded jackets (or hoodies) and long pants. Generally, hoodie season usually begins with fall as the temperatures cool. Hoodie season usually ends with the beginning of winter, when the temperatures are coldest and require heavy coats.

Cuffing season

Cuffing season refers to the time of year when people are trying to find romantic partners to spend time with for at least several months. Typically, cuffing season begins around the start of fall when the weather gets cold. Because of the cold weather, people won’t spend as much time outside, so a romantic partner helps a person pass time and socialize indoors during the slow winter months. Cuffing season usually ends around Valentine’s Day or may extend until the warm months of spring. 

Dark red season

Dark red season is a term commonly used on social media. So, what is it? Dark red season is most often used as a synonym of fall or autumn. When fall is approaching or has just arrived, social media users often use the hashtag #darkredseason or #darkred and post things related to fall, such as falling leaves or pumpkins. The name dark red season seems to be a reference to the song “Dark Red” (2017) by Steve Lacy. On TikTok, this song is often played during a video referring to dark red season.  

Cozy season

Continuing the trend of escaping cold weather is cozy season, which is said to begin around September or generally during the fall. During cozy season, people—you guessed it—prefer to stay cozy inside to escape the cold weather. Typically people stay warm by a fireplace and opt for sedentary activities like reading books or watching streams. Warm clothes, such as scarves and sweaters, are also a mainstay of cozy season. (Cozy season tends to overlap with cuffing season, since most people want to cozy up to another person, too.) Like the two previous seasons, cozy season tends to last through the winter until people end their hibernation for the warm spring season.

Pumpkin spice season

Everyone’s “favorite” season seems to get longer and longer every year. As you likely know, pumpkin spice season is that time of year when the market is flooded with products featuring the taste and/or smell of pumpkin spice. People often celebrate the occasion by either purchasing pumpkin spice products or complaining about the overabundance of pumpkin spice products. 

In theory, pumpkin spice season begins when a company releases a pumpkin spice product. The unofficial beginning of pumpkin spice season for many is the release of Starbucks’ celebrated pumpkin spice latte. In 2023, this happened in late August. For many, pumpkin spice season seems to be a never-ending hellscape, but the season typically lasts through winter when coffeeshops stop featuring pumpkin spice on the menu. 

Have you ever wondered what’s actually in pumpkin spice? We break down what gives the famous fall flavor its name and essence.

Spooky season

Are the hairs of your neck sticking up? Well, it must be spooky season. Spooky season is that time of year when the nights get longer, the weather gets colder, and horror movies come out to jump-scare us. Generally, spooky season begins as people look forward to Halloween. For many, this is sometime in October, but some may start feeling spooky during early September. People celebrate the spooky season by decorating for Halloween, watching horror movies, or otherwise contributing to the spooky atmosphere. 

Typically, spooky season lasts until Halloween night when children get candy and people who hand out toothbrushes get vandalized homes. When Halloween ends, spooky season ends right along with it. 

❄️ Winter

Awards season

Roll out the red carpet because we have artistic millionaires to praise. Awards season is that time of year when the different awards organizations honor artistic achievement. Typically, awards season kicks off in early September with the Emmy Awards. Awards season will continue throughout the winter with the CMA Awards in November, the Golden Globes in January, the Grammys in January or February, and finally the Oscars in February or March. 

Usually, awards season involves a lot of marketing and promotion by television networks, movie studios, record labels, and artists who are hoping to snag awards. Nominated movies, TV shows, and albums will often be heavily promoted, and movies will be rereleased to drum up hype and catch people’s attention. For the average person, awards season may feature betting on winners or sharing predictions to make the (excruciatingly long) awards shows more exciting. 

Flash a smile for the cameras as you check out this award-winning explanation of how the red carpet got its name.

Holiday season

When people talk about the holiday season, they almost always are referring to winter holidays. Specifically, the holiday season usually refers to the period starting from Thanksgiving and ending after New Year’s Day. This length of time includes the holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. The popular shopping “holidays” Black Friday and Cyber Monday also occur during this time.  

For many, the holiday season is a favorite time of year. It usually involves time off of work and school, which gives people time to relax and spend time with family and friends. Typically, the various holidays that make up the holiday season have their own traditions for each person and family. At the same time, the holiday season often involves stressful events such as holiday shopping and listening to the same holiday song 17 million times. 

🌱 Spring

Fashion seasons

The fashion industry has two main official seasons: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. There are also two unofficial seasons, commonly referred to as Resort and Pre-Fall. These names typically refer to the different collections that are released by designers during the year. However, the names can be confusing. The Spring/Summer season actually begins in the cold month of January, and the Fall/Winter season typically begins during the dog days of July. Resort season, featuring clothing to wear at resorts or on cruises, usually happens in the middle of Spring/Summer and Pre-Fall happens, well, just before the Fall/Winter season.

These release times give people time to buy clothing in preparation for the coming months ahead of time. Fashion releases are often determined by the extremely strict and demanding deadlines in the fashion industry. The Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter seasons also have fashion weeks highlighting new releases that happen months ahead of the season: Spring/Summer fashion week occurs in September, and Fall/Winter fashion week occurs in February. 

Wedding season

Drag out your finest clothes because wedding season is upon us. Wedding season, of course, refers to the time of the year when people are most likely to organize weddings and get married. Generally speaking, wedding season spans from around May to late October with June and September being peak times. As you would expect, wedding season is a celebratory time for people who are getting married, their friends and families, and wedding businesses who get to cash in.

There are many, many theories why this time—especially June—is so popular for weddings and has been even going back to ancient Roman times. The most common modern explanation for why this time is so popular for weddings is actually pretty simple: many people like to have outdoor weddings, and this time of year offers the best chance for sunny, beautiful weather.

Tax season

Well, they say it is inevitable, so let’s get this over with. In the United States, tax season typically begins in January and ends on Tax Day, which usually is scheduled for April 15. During this time, people and businesses file their taxes. This often requires a lot of paperwork and preparation, so tax preparation companies will often advertise heavily during this time. Most of us “celebrate” tax season by (hopefully) filing taxes on time and paying money that is owed.

We’ll help you understand the complicated jargon of taxes—so you can file with (at least a little bit more of) a smile.

🌞 Summer

Graduation season

Congratulations, we have reached graduation season! Graduation season is the time when schools tend to hold graduation ceremonies. Graduates receive their degrees and often celebrate the occasion with graduation parties. Depending on what level of schooling you are talking about, this can happen at different times.

For college, the most common graduation season usually begins in early May after the completion of the spring semester. For high schools, graduation season usually occurs in June after high school seniors complete their final year of high school. However, these times will often depend on the specific school schedule. Colleges also often have multiple graduation seasons throughout the year, as it is possible for college students to graduate in December or finish schooling in a summer semester and graduate in August. 

Back-to-school season

Summer’s over, so it is time to go back to school. Back-to-school season refers to the time when students have to go back to school. The specific time when this occurs varies, often geographically, according to each individual school district. Generally, back-to-school season starts anywhere from late June to early September. 

The back-to-school season often brings mixed feelings from students, parents, and teachers. For many, it signals the end of summer and carefree leisure. For teachers, it means they return to full-time work and supervise students. At the same time, it means parents will have a break from constantly caring for children and allows students to reconnect with friends. Lastly, the back-to-school season is often a joyous time for stores looking to sell school supplies. 

Swimsuit season

The days are getting long and hot, which means we’ve arrived at swimsuit season, and it’s time to hit the beach. Swimsuit season typically refers to the months of June and July when the temperature is high and people wear swimsuits to go to the beach. People often prepare for swimsuit season by attempting to get in shape so they look good in a swimsuit. 

The term swimsuit season has been used within the advertising industry since at least the 1940s to refer to the time of year when companies would make and sell swimsuits. By the 1960s, swimsuit season was used outside of the advertising industry to refer to the sunniest days of summer. In particular, the term was used in magazines and articles advising people to lose weight or marketing diet and exercise advice, which is often still how it is used today. Swimsuit season is also often used as a marketing term to sell swimsuits. 

📅 Year-round

Sports seasons

Popular sports are often played at certain times during the year, which are commonly referred to as seasons. Looking at some major sports, the seasons tend to begin at different times.

  • Football: The start of the college football season usually begins in late August or early September with the NFL season starting soon after. Some may consider football season to begin much earlier, such as at the NFL Draft in April or the start of NFL training camp in July.
  • Baseball: Spring training in February is often seen as the beginning of baseball season, and the MLB season typically begins in late March.
  • Basketball: The NBA season typically begins in October, at high schools, and college basketball seasons usually start not long after. 
  • Soccer: Soccer is played almost year-round, so it’s tricky to say when or if soccer season truly ends. In the US, professional soccer is played from February to October. The English Premier League typically spans from August until May. 
  • Hockey: The NHL season typically begins in October.  

For many, the true beginnings of sport seasons are often determined by high-profile player acquisitions or trades before play even begins. For those that play fantasy sports, the beginning of a sports season may be when they meet with friends to draft their teams. Regardless of when they start, the beginnings of sports seasons are often observed by fans through tailgating, purchasing tickets or streaming sports packages, getting out jerseys and memorabilia, organizing barbecues, or getting in debates with fans of rival teams.    

The practice and playing of sports may be evergreen throughout the year, but winter sports have a whole vocabulary of their own. Learn some here.

Astrological seasons

Astrological signs are determined by the positions of the sun and Earth. Each sign is associated with a constellation of stars that the sun passes through during the year when a person is born. The dates used for these signs are roughly the same now as those used during the Babylonian age. For example, a person born from around January 20 to February 18 is considered to have the sign Aquarius or to “be” an Aquarius. These spans of time are often referred to as seasons by astrology enthusiasts. 

Besides celebrating their birthday, a person may become more confident or socially active during their own season. Each astrological season also is said to have meaning for people of all signs. Typically, an astrological season is predicted to have energy coinciding with the personality traits of its particular sign. For example, Scorpio season is believed to be a time of mystery and passion, while Gemini season is a time of relaxation and self-reflection. As a result, people will often observe their own season by taking more risks, trying to achieve goals, or being more social than they otherwise would normally be. 

Take the quiz

Is it quiz acing season for you? Find out by taking our quiz about the many terms for unofficial seasons throughout the year.

No matter the astrological season, it's never the wrong time to learn about the signs of the zodiac.

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